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Poster: grendelschoice Date: May 18, 2007 4:22am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead vs Gangsta Rap

I think it's a really fair question, and not just comparing with the Dead.

Part of the reason "gangsta" gets such a bad "rap" (sorry) is that beyond the lyrics, the aggressive-sounding nature of the beats and music makes the songs appear more menacing...and much of it is. I agree with Bryan that the emphasis in the worst raps about calling woman bitches, ho's, etc., is agrresively mysoginistic...BUT, if you judge simply by the LYRICS of many Dead tunes (as noted, shooting Mr. Benson straight to hell, Mr. Charlie just un-loading his shotgun, Bobby singing about getting it on "with a girl who's just 14", or leaving his Uncle's "dead ass there by the side of the road", or Jack Straw cutting his buddy down, robbing the night watchman, etc., it would be very hypocritical to argue the message is any different.

But because the music that goes with it (think Mexicalli, which has a festive, jaunty, light-hearted feel) seems non-aggressive compared to the heavy, in your face beats that accompany many rap tunes, this stuff often gets a pass.

It can be found in many white musicians' music (Neil Young: "Down by the River/I shot my baby....dead") is just one example, so there is a bit of a double standard.

Interesting topic.

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Poster: BryanE Date: May 18, 2007 7:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead vs Gangsta Rap

Good call, grendelschoice. If I cite a double standard between a refusal on the part of the rap audience to accept rascist and/or misogynistic rhetoric on the part of the community at large, while still embracing it within rap lyrics, then it does imply an air of hypocrisy on my part when I fail to recognize a long-standing tradition within rock-n-roll songs to routinely objectify the living shit out of women. You mention it in your reply, but I will go further to say that one of favorite songs' opening line is, after all, "We can share the women," so there you go.

Still, speaking of the living shit, that's what rap irritates out of me. Just dislike it. In a big way. Always have. So it's easy, and as I indicated earlier, entirely subjective for me to target it disdainfully.

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: May 18, 2007 7:29am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead vs Gangsta Rap

Well, Bryan, I actually agree with you for the most part.

I'm always wishing rap would embrace a more serious political or social consciousness (and some of it does...the early Public Enemy stuff and some others actually have something to say, and the genre itself is so perfect for expressing important thoughts;

I mean, you could argue that Dylan was one of the earliest rappers when you listen to "Subterranean Homesick Blues"--that stream of consciousness approach to lyrics, fast-paced rhyming schemes, etc.)...which is why the bling-bling, look-at-me-i'm-so-badass-I gotta-glock-gonna-pop-a-bitch approach to much of what makes up the most popular rap is a shame--b/c it's a missed opportunity, really.

It's also a farce b/c all that hardcore stuff gets eaten up by white suburban kids w/a wanna-be-gangsta complex.

Which brings me to this hilarious satirical video that some high school kids in my state of Vermont made recently and put on You Tube. Total tongue in cheek, and a really funny take on rap "Green Mountain Style"

Check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GL7uW4TYqbs

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Poster: BryanE Date: May 18, 2007 8:40am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead vs Gangsta Rap

I'll have to give it a look when I get home from work.

Astute observation there about Subterranean Homesick Blues. But I'm still at a loss as to being able to draw what I feel is a relevant parallel between rap and Grateful Dead music. Like I said earlier, doing so seems like making a big
stretch. The closest thing that I can discern that really makes any sense to me would be one of those versions of Shakedown Street where they do the final chorus in a round: "Don't tell me this townDon't tell me this townDon't tell me this town ain't got no heart . . . "

I definitely agree with you about how silly it looks for suburban white boys trying to pull it off. It's the visual equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard. And if I'm seen as a rascist in reverse for feeling that way, so be it.

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Poster: bluedevil Date: May 18, 2007 8:55am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead vs Gangsta Rap

http://www.spinjunkies.com/index2.htm

Fun stuff....

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Poster: mcglone Date: May 18, 2007 4:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead vs Gangsta Rap

your're so right - very interesting topic! looking forward to reading where the day takes this post...

candyman - If I had me a shotgun Id blow you straight to hell